Pet owners ‘find their misbehaviour endearing’ – even the messy stuff

Naughty pets frequently stole food and ignored new toys, according to a survey  (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Dog and cat owners’ top complaints include their animals stealing food, howling in the night and walking across the kitchen counter, according to a poll.

One-quarter of 1,000 pet owners serveyed admitted they found their pets frustrating, at least some of the time.

But 82 percent put the antics down to their companions’ cheeky character, while seven in 10 found their misbehavior endearing.

It also emerged that 59 per cent enjoyed telling friends when their pets had been up to no good, including when they walked across their laptop while working or begged for food from the table.

Other quirky habits of cats and dogs included the human-like traits of refusing to go out in the rain and making strange noises in their sleep.

Helen Skelton, TV presenter and spokesperson for insurance provider Petplan, which commissioned the research, said: “Like humans, pets have strong personalities, and for many, they are a key companion and member of the family, especially if they’ve been by our side for a while, like my dogs Barney and Spiderman.

“Lots of our pet friends have quirky traits, mine are quite different; one is forever disappearing into the garden with a shoe and our lab is no stranger to helping himself to the fruit bowl either, including bringing in a special ‘present’, or pinching sausages from the barbeque.

“Living on a farm surrounded by animals means that funny antics are a common occurrence – my dogs have been keeping me on my toes since day one, but like any other family member, that’s just their personality.”

The survey also found 24 percent of people had had to deal with a “gift” of live animals being brought into the house, while 14 percent had had their buttered toast licked behind their back.

One-fifth of respondents had watched in frustration as their pet ignored a brand-new toy and chewed up the rest of the house instead.

Despite this, 74 percent had a good relationship with their pet. Eight in 10 said that even though their pets were a cause of frustration, they would not change them in any way.

UK pet owners’ most common complaints

  • Being sick on the carpet
  • Waiting by the door to be let out then their minds
  • Leaving fur or hair everywhere
  • Waking you up in the middle of the night
  • Begging for food when you cook
  • Making strange sounds in their sleep
  • Refusing to go out in the rain
  • Walking across your laptop when you are trying to work
  • Knocking something off a shelf
  • Bringing a live animal back into the house
  • Stealing food
  • Howling or meowing in the middle of the night
  • Constantly trying to get into a cupboard or another area
  • Ignoring the toys you bought and chewing things they should not
  • Stealing food from the countertop when your back is turned
  • Jumping on you when covered in mud
  • Walking muddy footprints across the kitchen counter
  • Chewing a shoe or slipper
  • Lying on your head when you are sleeping
  • Rolling around in fox excrement
  • Licking the butter off your toast when your back is turned
  • Deciding they want a walk late at night
  • Pulling the duvet off you in the morning when they want food